[ITALY]Italian giant Juventus announced Thursday that it is to knock down its cavernous Stadio Delle Alpi and convert it into an intimate 40,000-seater stadium. Work will begin in March of next year and the team plans to move in at the start of the 2011-12 season.
Club President Cobolli Gigli said that Juventus was "very proud" that the team would be the first in Italy to own its own stadium. It bought the stadium from the city back in 2003, and moved out to play its games in the Stadio Olimpico in 2006. The new structure will cost $130 million, with almost three-quarters of that cost (around $93 million) coming from the sports marketing agency Sportfive, which has bought the naming rights to the new stadium for its first 12 years.
"The new stadium is a fundamental asset," said General Manager Jean-Claude Blanc, "which we shall finance without reducing the capability of investing in the team."
Gigli said that the club would have "a modern and secure stadium where fans can experience the game up close." The seats furthest away from the field will be only 28 meters back from the action. The stadium complex will also include the club museum and its administrative arm.
The Stadio Delle Alpi was opened just in time for Italia '90, but has never been popular with fans because of the athletic track built around the field. The action is far away enough to be a strain on the eye, while the atmosphere has always suffered from its inner vastness. Juventus and Torino shared the stadium for 16 years, but both moved out to the Stadio Olimpico (formerly the Stadio Communale, where the teams played up until 1990) two years ago after that ground was renovated for the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Click here for a video presentation of the new stadium. Warning: this video appears to be specially aimed at people in the market for a corporate box, but this really will be a soccer stadium, not a new airport.